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The Two Instagram Travel Bloggers Who Fell To Their Deaths In Yosemite Were Intoxicated

The official investigation into the circumstances of the couple's death has not concluded, but a family member said they had set up a tripod to take a selfie on the cliff where they fell.

Posted on January 18, 2019, at 9:16 p.m. ET

College of Engineering, Chengannur / Via Facebook: CEConline

Two married travel bloggers who fell to their deaths in Yosemite in October were drunk when they died, according to autopsy results released Friday.

The bodies of Meenakshi "Minaxi" Moorthy, 30, and Vishnu Viswanath, 29, were recovered roughly 800 feet below Taft Point on Oct. 25 after a specialized team of rangers was able to reach them. Together, they ran the Instagram account @holidaysandhappilyeverafters, which had accrued 25,000 followers, where they posted about their world travels.

Autopsy reports from the Stanislaus County Coroner's Office said the two were "intoxicated with ethyl alcohol prior to death" at the time of their deaths, the Mercury News reported. Ethyl alcohol is the chemical that gives beer, wine, and liquor their psychoactive effects, which can impair motor function and judgment. No drugs were found in their systems, and the level of intoxication is unclear.

The coroner's office did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

Though the official investigation into the circumstances of the couple's death has not concluded, Viswanath's brother said they had set up a tripod to take a selfie on the cliff where they fell.

In a March 2018 post, Moorthy warned of dangerously staged Instagram posts: "A lot of us including yours truly is a fan of daredevilry attempts of standing at the edge of cliffs ⛰and skyscrapers🌆, but did you know that wind gusts can be FATAL??? ☠️ Is our life just worth one photo?"

The two were born in India and met while in engineering school there before moving to San Jose, California, where Viswanath had taken a job at Cisco.

The National Park Service and Yosemite staff did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Most Yosemite employees have been furloughed for nearly a month due to the partial government shutdown.


Meenakshi "Minaxi" Moorthy and Vishnu Viswanath were recovered on Oct. 25. This date was misstated in an earlier version of this post.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.